AKA Syracuse China

Hi! I’ve been so busy I haven’t had time to write! We have been getting ready for an exchange student and it’s amazing how much stuff builds up in your house when you’ve been somewhere for 10+ years. I have a full time job, as well, so the blog took the hit this month. But I wanted to talk about a company that is known as Syracuse China.

I found this pretty little cup and saucer the other day for the shop.

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Syracuse China Lady Louise Teacup and Saucer (available at Vintage Eve’s)

I love the rich colors! This particular pattern is called Lady Louise and comes from about the 1940s. It’s marked Old Ivory, which is the shape, by Syracuse China. I was curious about who they were so if you are, too, let’s find out who they are.

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O.P.Co. Tea Pot (available at Pungo Vintage)

In 1871, according to Syracuse Then and Now, The Onondaga Pottery Company opened it’s doors when sixteen local businessmen banded together and bought a local struggling pottery. This company was also called, O.P.Co. and was located in Geddes, New York, which is now part of Syracuse. The name came from the county in which it was located, as well as a nod to the native Iroquois tribe.

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O.P.Co. Syracuse China Indian Tree Plate (available at The Little Things N More)

After they capitalized the company for $50,000, they began to expand their white earthenware lines that the old pottery manufactured. O.P.Co. was not located close to the other big potteries in the area. They settled where there were no natural clay sources or coal for running the kilns. No one in the area were clay workers but they were located on the Erie Canal and the railroads so they were able to bring in what they needed easily enough.

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Railroad Dishes by Syracuse China (available at Sweetest Stella)

The first of O.P.Co.’s Superintendents had hired English potters and trained the local men in making English pottery. In fact, the first company backstamp was a Lion and Unicorn Arms until it was changed in 1873 to the Great Seal of the State of New York. The pottery went undecorated until 1884 when Boston China Decorating Works opened up across the street. They now had access to a designer, printer and hand decorator, at least until a fire destroyed the Boston China Decorating Works in 1886.

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Syracuse China Coralbel Creamer and Sugar (available at Jo’s China Shop)

So O.P.Co. decided to take everyone into their building thereby establishing one of the earliest in-house decorating departments. At this point, they are still O.P.Co. Syracuse Then and Now says that in 1888 James Pass, the Superintendent at that time who later became president, created America’s “first truly vitreous china body.” (syracusethenandnow.org). Imperial Geddo was a line of fancy accessory pieces that were introduced at the World’s Colombian Exposition in Chicago in 1893 where it won the award for most translucent china.

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Syracuse China Trend Cups (available at Vintage Rescuer)

Two years after the award, the name Syracuse China started showing up on these pieces as a backstamp. Eventually they dropped their other earthenware body pieces and all of their products were vitreous “Syracuse China.”

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Mustard Pot by Syracuse China (available at TreasureWares)

They became big in the hotel market with a chip-resistant round edge shape introduced in 1896. In 1908 they led the industry in perfecting the under glaze decal process. Then in 1913 Bert Salisbury became president with the death of James Pass. New products that came to market from Salisbury’s time were Old Ivory in 1926 and Adobe in 1931. They also specialized in china for the nation’s railroads.

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Syracuse China Adobe Ware Egg Cups (available at SuzyQVintage)

During WWII, Richard Pass was president and helped the war effort by manufacturing non-detectable ceramic anti-tank land mines. In the 1950s they opened the Onondaga Pottery Electronics Division where they produced “reliable printed circuit components for radio and television manufacturers” (syracusethenandnow.org).

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Syracuse China Drip Bowl (available at Treasures We Love)

Up until 1971, the company had been been owned by 2 Syracuse families. In 1971 new management took over. They purchased the assets of the company and formed Syracuse China Corporation. In 1978 they merged with Canadian Pacific Investments, Ltd. With this new backing they continued to thrive. There were a few more changes of hands including Susquehanna-Pfaltzgraff and then Libbey owning the company.

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Syracuse China Grill Plate Shanghai (available at LexyLady’sTreasures)

Again, we see the merging of all these big industry names as the company morphs over the years. This is how these companies survive in order to weather difficult times and changes in management. It’s interesting how they are interconnected!

Well, that’s it for this week! Please join me at the link parties listed on the right and have a great week!

Fiesta at the Laughlins!

If you’ve written a blog for any length of time, it is hard to keep track of all the things you’ve talked about. Luckily, I can do a search, which is what I did today to make sure I hadn’t covered what I wanted to talk about today. I was honestly surprised to realize I haven’t done a post on Homer Laughlin! It’s one of those companies that has given us some really well-known lines.

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Homer Laughlin Creamer Hotel Ware Line (available at Vintage Eve’s)

I myself have a number of Homer Laughlin pieces in my shop. The piece above and the piece below, both Homer Laughlin.

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Homer Laughlin Ferndale Nautilus Salt & Pepper Shakers (available at Vintage Eve’s)

This company is actually still in business today which is commendable considering they rode out the Great Depression, recession and other economic issues that have taken down any number of great pottery houses. They began in 1871 on the banks of the Ohio River in Liverpool, Ohio. A lot of potteries started in Ohio during the turn of twentieth century.

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Homer Laughlin Art Pottery circa 1910 (available at Wild Crockophile)

According to the Homer Laughlin website, the Laughlin Brothers, Homer and Shakespeare, wanted to make quality china at a fair price. They started out making yellow ware and stoneware. In 1873, the town of East Liverpool kicked in $5,000 (a lot of money in those days!) to build a “white ware plant which was still to be known as the Laughlin Brothers.” (Lehner, 1988, p. 245).

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Homer Laughlin Kwaker Rosewood 4 Piece Set circa 1920 (available at Lindsay Jane’s Cottage)

By 1903 they had outgrown their factory and expanded to Newell Farm in West Virginia which was just across the Ohio River. They also began the framework for what was to become the town of Newell. So definitely an important company to that area of West Virginia!

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Homer Laughlin Riviera Sugar and Creamer circa 1930 (available at Antiques by Granny)

They landed some government contracts supplying hotelware known as “double thick” in both WWI and WWII. In 1949 they started to produce hotelware full time. This includes products for the restaurant and food service business. That market is still a large part of their business today. Their Best China, a vitrified china product, puts them in the top 3 leaders in this field (Lehner, 1988, p. 245).

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Homer Laughlin Best China Dishes (available at Mud in the USA)

They continued to expand through the 1930s when in 1936 they introduced a line of china that became a huge success. Any guesses? Fiesta!! Yes Homer Laughlin is the maker of Fiesta ware. Fiesta was made in a bold range of colors with some really unique designs. Fiesta has many collectors that seek out the vintage pieces. It was discontinued in 1973 but then reintroduced in 1986. The colors are slightly different on the new pieces so it can be difficult to determine old and new but the marking will be different. Check out this section on Laurel Hollow Park on identifying them.

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Vintage Homer Laughlin Fiestaware (available at The Freckled Berry)

Interesting fact…from 1943 to 1959 the most popular Fiesta color, Fiesta Red, was not produced due to government control of the depleted uranium that went into making the color. During the 40s and 50s the color choices of Fiesta were forest green, chartreuse, grey and rose.

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Homer Laughlin Fiesta Red Pitcher (available at Molto Belle)

Apparently Fiesta Red was a complicated color to produce because when most of the original technicians who worked on producing the color retired by 1972, the new manufacturing processes could not reproduce the color and they decided, rather than make an inferior product, they would stop producing it. By 1973 all Fiesta production ceased.

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Homer Laughlin Kitchen Kraft Covered Casserole Dish (available at Blue Plate Special 2005)

There are A LOT of different backstamps identifying Homer Laughlin. Check out Lehner’s Encyclopedia of U.S. Marks on Pottery, Porcelain & Clay for a comprehensive list. Some of their lines include Sunrise, Zylco, Kenmark, Royal, Priscilla, Swing and many, many more.

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Homer Laughlin Harlequin Nut Bowls (available at Coleblk)

Homer Laughlin China has innovated over the years becoming a multi-generational employer. They worked hard to introduce some green production, and actually have always produced and manufactured what they sell. I loved learning their story and sharing it with you. Hats off to one of the remaining great American potteries!

I will be partying at the blogs to the right all week, please join me if you have some time. Have a great week!

 

 

 

 

 

Hall of Fame

Hall China Company. I see so many pieces with the Hall or Hall’s mark and for good reason; they have been in business since August 14, 1903! And they are still in business! There are so few companies that have lasted that long that they deserve a little fame.

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Hall’s Superior Quality Bowl (available at Vintage Eve’s)

Hall China Company is one of those companies that came out of Ohio. They were started at East Fourth and Walnut Streets in East Liverpool, Ohio. According to one of my favorite sources, “Lehner’s Encyclopedia of U.S. Marks on Pottery, Porcelain & Clay” by Lois Lehner, the company was founded by Robert Hall and his son, Robert T. Hall. Unfortunately, the elder Hall died in 1904!

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Hall’s Superior Quality Decorated Teapot circa 1940s (available at Buy The Lake Vintage)

Originally the company made whiteware from 1905 to 1911. This helped get the company off the ground. Robert T. Hall wanted more for the company, though. He had an idea that proved to be the product that made the company stand out above the rest. He developed a new glaze that was “single fire, non-lead, hard, non-porous and craze proof” (Lehner, 1988, p. 187). They called this their “Secret Process.”

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Hall China Co. Hotpoint Refrigerator Pitcher circa 1930s (available at Lovettsville)

From this point in 1914, they began to grow and expand quite a lot. They got into cookware such as casseroles, teapots and coffee urn liners (for industrial uses). In 1919 they bought the Goodwin Pottery Plant to make decorated teapots. They were soon the leader in teapots. In 1920 Robert T. Hall passed away and Malcolm W. Thompson took over.

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Hall Super-Ceram Graduated Set (available at Abundancy)
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Hall Super-Ceram Mark (available at Abundancy)

They continued to grow acquiring other plants until in 1930 they abandoned all the other buildings and moved into a large facility which they added to 8 times over the years. It is the facility they still use and encompasses 12 acres!

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Hall’s China Co. Covered Casserole (available at Ric’s Relics)

As time marched on, their lines grew. There is Hall Fireproof China which covers casseroles and other baking dishes, teapots, coffee pots, serving dishes and storage dishes. Many of these pieces have been produced for the industrial/restaurant sectors. Hall’s Superior Quality, like the piece at the top of this post, was available through stamp stores and large merchandising centers.

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Hall’s Flare-Ware Teapot (available at Lilly’s Vintage Cupboard)
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Hall China Flare Ware Mark (available at Lilly’s Vintage Cupboard)

Super-Ceram is their’s, too. It’s a tough, white ceramic. There are over 100 marks associated with Hall China Co. They help to identify them as made for the railroads, airlines, restaurants and stores like Montgomery Wards, Sears and Roebuck and the Jewell Tea Company. At one point they even had a partnership with Longaberger Baskets. They are now joined with Homer Laughlin China under the HLC Inc. umbrella.

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Hall Covered Refrigerator Dish for Montgomery Ward (available at Classy Vintage Glass)
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Hall China Co. Mark for Montgomery Ward & Co. (available at Classy Vintage Glass)

As you can see, Hall China Co. knew how to stay in business. They diversified and managed to make a good product which they moved through many different venues. If you can get your hands on Lehner’s book, she has an extensive number of marks for identifying years of manufacture. I don’t receive any monetary compensation for recommending her book, it’s just a great resource.

If you have any stories of a favorite Hall China piece, leave me a comment. I love hearing from everyone! Please join me at the link parties on the right and have a great week!